Ecosystem – Definition, 2 Components, Types, and Example Of Ecosystem
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The natural world contains diverse habitats inhabited by a wide range of organisms. These habitats, also known as ecosystems, will be thoroughly examined in this blog, covering various aspects of their functioning and characteristics.
An ecosystem is a functioning system composed of living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components. The biotic components encompass all living organisms, while the abiotic components comprise non-living elements. Therefore, the scientific definition of an ecosystem involves an ecological community composed of various populations of organisms coexisting in a specific habitat.
In biology, an ecosystem is considered the fundamental unit of nature. Like a living organism comprises cells that serve as the structural and functional units of life, nature is composed of fundamental ecosystems.
Here are the components of the ecosystem
1. Biotic components
The biotic components of an ecosystem encompass all organisms, which can be classified into two primary types: eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Eukaryotes are characterized by membrane-bound organelles, including a nucleus, within their cells. Examples of eukaryotes include plants, animals, fungi, and protists. On the other hand, prokaryotes lack membrane-bound organelles. Bacteria and archaea are examples of prokaryotes.
2. Abiotic components
The non-living elements within an ecosystem, known as the abiotic components, encompass various entities such as rocks, soil, minerals, water sources, and the local atmosphere. Similar to the biotic components, these abiotic elements also play an ecological role. For instance, environmental elements and compounds serve as sources of nutrients vital for organisms’ growth and metabolism. Additionally, these abiotic components provide organisms with a habitat to reside and flourish, serving as both a nutrient source and a suitable living environment.
Types of Ecosystems
Here are the four types of ecosystems
1. Terrestrial ecosystem
2. Freshwater ecosystems
3. Marine ecosystem
A marine ecosystem is an aquatic ecosystem that consists of saltwater. These ecosystems encompass various habitats found in seas and oceans. Ocean ecosystems, in particular, play a crucial role in providing atmospheric oxygen. This is mainly attributed to the extensive population of autotrophic algae, which release oxygen through photosynthesis. Marine ecosystems are widely recognized as the most abundant ecosystem on our planet.
4. Artificial ecosystem
An artificial ecosystem is a system that has been created by humans and can be categorised as terrestrial, freshwater, or marine. A terrarium is an illustration of an artificial ecosystem. For the sake of studying biology and ecology, conservation, and aesthetics, many man-made habitats are constructed.
Examples of Ecosystem
The following are examples of ecosystem
1. Deciduous forest ecosystem
2. Savannah ecosystem
Savannahs represent a combination of woodland and grassland ecosystems. The presence of widely spaced canopy trees enables sunlight to penetrate and reach the ground, fostering the growth of abundant shrubs and herbaceous layers dominated by grasses.
As a result, grazers such as sheep, cattle, and goats are commonly found in this ecosystem, utilizing ample vegetation as a food source. Savannahs often act as transitional zones between forested areas and deserts or grasslands.
3. Coral reef ecosystem
Coral reefs are ecosystems formed by colonies of reef-building corals, composed of interconnected coral polyps. These vibrant and diverse ecosystems are often called the “rainforests of the sea” due to their immense biodiversity.
Coral reefs are primarily found in tropical waters at shallow depths. They provide habitats for various species, including molluscs, worms, crustaceans, echinoderms, sponges, tunicates, and fish.
4. Hot spring ecosystem
A hot spring is a natural spring with a significantly higher water temperature than the surrounding environment. The heat in the water originates from geothermal sources, meaning the Earth’s mantle heats it. Due to the high temperatures, hot springs are characterized by having a limited number of organisms.
However, certain extremophile organisms called thermophiles can thrive in these environments, tolerating temperatures ranging from 45 to 80°C (113 to 176°F). Examples of thermophilic organisms in hot springs include thermophilic amoebas such as Naegleria fowleri and Acanthamoeba, thermophilic bacteria like Legionella, and various archaea.